Whenever the marketing industry releases its speculations for what is going to be “hot” for the coming year, it’s a sure sign that the focus they name will soon be manipulated by those looking for ways to make it work for them, while putting in as little effort as possible.
This year, it is content marketing. According to the B2B content marketing benchmark report by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 93% of marketers polled say they are already using content marketing and 73% are producing more content than they did a year previous.
Thankfully, great content is actually something that is hard to fake. That’s because content should be written for the reader instead of search engines, especially because social media virality is crucial to content’s success.
Social Media Exposure
In order for a post to be extremely popular (in most cases), it must be instantly shareable on social media. This means easy-as-pie sharing buttons on the content itself, as well as a strong social presence for the publishing organization. Having an engaged social network will help spur growth.
For outstanding pieces of content that the target audience is sure to find useful or interesting, it’s also worth experimenting with boosted posts on Facebook and sponsored tweets that can help get it out to a wider audience that hasn’t connected with the company yet.
Because social media is made up of millions of people, it is important to cater toward them instead of a search engine algorithm (which may be taking social virality into consideration anyway).
So how does virality happen through social media? By inciting emotion in one of the top areas that pushes users to share content: humor, amazement, sentiment, political/social views alignment, unique (hasn’t been seen before), along with other emotions that may not be felt every day, like embarrassment, drama, or voyeurism (e.g. a leaked video no one was supposed to see).
Additionally, mixing different forms of content regularly into one blog post can also appeal to a wider range of users. For instance, some may like reading the article, while others will simply watch the accompanying video to get slice of what the content is trying to say. Photos can also lead to higher click through rates on social media and engagement in content because many users are attracted to the visual aspects first.
Many users, even subconsciously are starting to attribute a website’s design and its content to how great the company is itself. One study cited by graphics design firm Graphics by Felicia states that 70% of users say they would not buy something from a poorly designed website. This is because quality of how a business represents themselves translates to how the business treats their employees, as unfair as that seems to some.
The shift toward applying the same standards to content has already started. So while the movement toward a greater emphasis on content marketing continues to grow, companies must remember to write for the end user, who are the ones clicking on links in search engine results, on social media, through email, and on your website once they finally get there.